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article imageReview: Strong personalities steer this week’s releases Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Apr 19, 2020 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include the true story of a man getting justice for the innocent and persecuted; an unconventional but inspiring adaptation of a classic novel; and a depiction of two possible realities.
Just Mercy (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
The true story of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Brie Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the main testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings, as well as overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds — and the system — stacked against them.
This film and the injustices it portrays are often difficult to watch, but that’s the intention. It’s unclear why Walter was framed for the crime, but it’s very obvious he was. In spite of the total lack of evidence linking him to the murder and multiple witnesses who can place him elsewhere, he was charged and convicted. Placed on death row before he was even found guilty, audiences are invited into the hopelessness that permeates the walls of that prison block. Foxx is good, portraying Walter’s tempered optimism and desperate confidence, while Jordan’s portrayal of Bryan illustrates his determination and commitment to getting justice for his clients. The bonus features shed light on the real-life experiences of the protagonists and the meaning of the picture to all those involved.
Special features include: deleted scenes; making-of featurette; “This Moment Deserves”; and “The Equal Justice Initiative.” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Little Women (Blu-ray & DVD)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
The film draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott, and unfolds as the author’s alter ego, Jo March (Saoirse Ronan), reflects back and forth on the fictional life of the March sisters — four young women each determined to live life on their own terms: Jo, Meg (Emma Watson), Amy (Florence Pugh) and Beth (Eliza Scanlen).
For more than 150 years, Alcott’s novel has entertained and inspired readers. The book was published in two volumes, the first following their childhood adventures and the second showing the young women they became. Writer/director Greta Gerwig’s adaptation foregoes the traditional linear approach of other film versions and opts to splice their experiences together. Beginning with the young women living their individual, exceptional lives, it uses flashbacks to illustrate how things from their youth influenced where they are today. The approach works surprisingly well as events seamlessly connect to each other and can be easily traced from the past to the present and back again. It’s a lovely adaptation that highlights Jo’s strength and modernity, while also illustrating how such fire and courage was nurtured by her mother (Laura Linney).
Special features include: behind-the-scenes featurette; “A New Generation of Little Women”; “Making a Modern Classic”; “Greta Gerwig: Women Making Art”; “Hair & Make-Up Test Sequence”; “Orchard House, Home of Louisa May Alcott.” (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Two Times You (DVD)
Two couples are out at an event. Daniela (Melissa Barrera) and Rodrigo (Mariano Palacios) are ridiculously attractive. Daniela’s cousin, Tania (Anahi Dávila), is worried that she’s missing out, making her life feel more boring. She’s married to Benny (Daniel Adissi), who has antediluvian views of the role of a wife in a marriage. The couples get pretty wasted, and the women decide to each go home with the other’s husband. The problem is one of the cars crashes, killing the partners of the people in the other vehicle. The surviving widow and widower must now try to navigate the mistrust and rumours in the community, the loss of their friend and lover, and the strange position concerning one another that they are put in.
The women are as close as sisters, but in spite of their camaraderie they are quite dissimilar from each other. The fatal crash plays out twice as both cars crash, creating two realities with different survivors. Consequently, the cousins have very different reactions to the other’s passing. Daniela is haunted by Tania’s memory, pushing her towards a deep depression. Conversely, Tania spent so much time living vicariously through Daniela, she can’t stop observing her lifestyle even after she’s gone. Since there are different characters in the concurrent narratives, it’s not difficult to tell them apart; yet, it’s still a strange story that isn’t especially engaging.
There are special features. (Synergetic)
More about Just Mercy, Little Women, Two Times You, DVD, BluRay
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